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9 DIY Compost Bin Ideas To Boost Your Garden Growth

Composting is the natural process of recycling organic materials into natural fertilizers you can use to nourish soil and plants. Organic material will always decompose. It is only a matter of time. We prepared ten compost bin ideas so you can provide an ideal environment for bacteria, fungi, and worms to break down the waste. 

You can start composting to recycle food waste and other organic materials and nourish your little plants and vegetables. Usable compost materials include grass clippings, coffee grounds, shredded paper, and a leaf pile. 

The good news is you don’t have to spend money purchasing a new compost bin. Read on to explore ways to build your own compost bins.

Related Read: Urban Composting, What Not to Compost? (and What You Can).

9 DIY Compost Bin Ideas And Methods

1. Build your compost bin out of a cardboard box. 

cardboard box
Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash.

Building a compost pile is very easy. You can make a compost bin by using a cardboard box with lids. Find a vacant cardboard box you have no use for and place it in an area with adequate sunlight. There are two ways to use a cardboard box for your compost pile. 

You can either open the lids and let them stay open on the ground. It allows your pile to interact directly with the earth. With the other method, you'll place the box on the floor and fill the inside with brown materials like paper or leaves. 

Then, add your green materials, i.e., vegetable and food scraps. Since cardboard is biodegradable, it will decay with the compost heap. Cardboards also work well for in-ground composting. 

In-ground composting involves burying compostable materials for passive decomposition. To do this, bury the cardboard box up to its edges and add your heap of carbon and nitrogen-rich materials. 

2. Use wood pallets to create compost bins. 

wood pallets
Photo by Jon Moore on Unsplash.

You can use wood pallets to create a DIY compost bin. It is an excellent way to upcycle wood pallets you aren’t using in your home. Even if you don’t have wood pallets, you can get them without spending money. 

You can get them from construction sites and builders, hardware stores, small garden stores, furniture stores, and locally listed marketplaces (Facebook marketplace or Craigslist). However, watch out for the type of wood used to make the pallet. 

Avoid using wood pallets made with treated wood. Untreated wood is better because it doesn’t contaminate your compost heap. If you can, find pallets made with cedar and redwood because they are more rot-resistant and durable.  

Sometimes, it is easy to determine the treatment method used for a pallet from its labeling. HT labeling means the pallet was heat-treated, while MB means manufacturers treated it with metal bromide. It is best to use a heat-treated pallet for composting. 

You’ll need four pallets to form the bin. The goal is to use the pallets by putting the slanted ends inside. Simply join the pallets to create a box and tie them together with a strong rope or string. You could also use angle brackets and some screws to hold the pallets together. 

3. Build hardware cloth or chicken wire compost bin. 

Hardware cloth composting bin is one of the easiest DIY compost bins, especially for someone new to the composting journey. For this project you'll need: 

  • Hardware cloth or mesh
  • Gloves
  • Heavy wire for ties
  • Wire cutters 
  • Three or four wooden or metal posts

First, determine the size and depth you want the bin to be. Cut the desired length of hardware cloth. Usually, about 10 feet in length is enough to hold your yard waste. 

Ensure you are wearing gloves because it is easy for the metal ridges to poke at and tear your skin. Also, ensure you are using galvanized chicken wire. An ungalvanized wire is not durable. 

Stand the wire in a circle on your desired composting spot, and use heavy wires to tie both ends together. It secures your circular enclosure. Add 3-4 wooden or metal posts to create more support.

You could combine them with wood pallets, creating a mesh box supported by wood. Using wood as an added support gives more versatility. You can create a three-bin compost system with mesh and wood. 

Remember to fold back 3-4 inches of wire at the end of each cut piece. It provides better support and a clean edge to avoid injuries. 

First, erect and join the wood pieces into your desired shape. It is mostly always shaped like a box. Then, carefully unroll the hardware cloth or wire and staple it to the center of each panel. Using a mesh for compost is highly advisable because it allows for proper airflow, ensuring good compost harvest. 

4. Upcycle trash container into compost can.

trash container
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash.

Another DIY compost option is upcycling your trash can into a manure bin. It could be a metal or plastic bin. All you have to do is make holes in the container and place it on a couple of bricks to lift it off the ground. Add your kitchen scraps and close it tightly. 

Once a week, roll the bin around to turn the compost around. If you have a suspended trash bin, you can turn it into a compost tumbler. Just swing it around when you want to turn the mixture inside. 

5. Wattle Fence Compost Bin

You can make a compost bin by creating a wattle fence around your desired spot in the garden center. It is incredibly zero-waste because you can use branches from hazel, willow, plum, and sweet chestnut trees to make the fence. However, you can use other tree branches, provided the branches are straight and supple. 

Shave one end of 11 sticks and knock them one foot apart into the ground. They serve as the support on which you will weave the compost fence. After setting the support branches in your required size, start intertwining the tree branches around the support. This video by Jozef Papp gives an adequate tutorial on building a wattle fence compost bin.  

A wattle compost bin is an excellent choice for most gardeners who compost outdoors, especially those with a large garden area. Its adequate structure protects your composting materials from soil erosion. You can also build a wattle fence to protect your garden beds. It keeps weeds and animals (your pet dog) away from your garden and compost pile. 

6. Metal-Roofing Sheet Compost Bin

metal roofing sheet
Photo by DLKR on Unsplash.

It is easy to get metal roofing shit from construction sites and stores. They make durable storage space for decaying food waste. Metal roofing sheets last longer than wood bins and are much easier to construct. Using metal sheets helps lock in the heat and moisture necessary for a successful composting process.

You'll need supporting posts to attach the metal sheets. Wood or galvanized metal posts work well, depending on your personal preference. If you're using wood, be prepared to change it regularly because no organic matter is immune to biodegradation. 

Cut four pieces of 4 by 4 inches of the metal roofing sheet. Prepare four 4-foot-long wooden or metal posts and knock them into the ground. Attach the roofing sheets to the metal posts using nails and a hammer. You'd need screws and a drilling machine to fix the roofing sheets on metal posts. 

Also, you can mix and match your compost build with metal roofing sheets and wood panels. Check out this video for more information on building bind with metal roofing sheets and wood. 

7. Plastic Storage Containers Compost Bin 

We have plastic storage containers, so why not repurpose them into compost bins? It is an environmentally friendly way of recycling plastic. Also, it is a composting arrangement easily accessible to people with small gardens. You'll need a drill and sharp drill bit, two plastic containers, and a tight lid. 

First, ensure the bin is large enough to hold significant amounts of organic waste. It is advisable to use a plastic container that can hold 18 gallons of water or more. Next, drill holes around both plastics to allow room for airflow. Then, stack one container into another. 

One will hold the kitchen waste, while the other will contain the liquid that leaches out of the pile. The liquid contains nutrients you can also use as a natural fertilizer. It is unnecessary, but you can line the inside of the compost container with mesh wire or hardware cloth. 

Place the bin in a suitable area and fill it with kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, used tea bags, and other food scraps. 

8. Worming Compost Bin

Photo by sippakorn yamkasikorn on Unsplash

Worming composting refers to using worms to turn kitchen waste and other yard waste into a rich garden amendment. A worm composting bin can create a finished compost within two weeks. Here are some steps to help you build your worm compost bin. 

First, you need worms. It is not a worm composting bin without the worms. It doesn't mean you should start digging your garden in hopes of catching worms. You can purchase worms at a cheap price. However, you can't just buy any type of worm. There are specific worms that are suitable for a worm compost bin. 

Get redworms (Eisenia fetida) or manure worms (Lumbricus rubellus). Add a few worms into the worm bin because worms repopulate fast. To build a worm bin, you need a container at least 12 inches deep because worms love to dig and tunnel. Make holes around the container to ensure enough ventilation and moisture flow. 

Ready-made worm bins usually come raised off the ground. So, you can create a small platform to raise the worm bin and put a tray under it to collect the liquid that drips out. Lastly, choose a suitable area to place your worm bins. Red worms usually prefer temperatures between 55 and 77 degrees. 

Related Read: How To Start A Worm Farm & What Do Worms Eat?

9. Straw Bale Composting  

straw bale
Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

Using straw to compost is one of the easiest methods of composting. All you have to do is get about four straw bales and stack them together to form a square. You can use the bales to create a wall and compost directly on moist soil or use the straw as a base. 

Then, add food scraps, vegetable peelings, grass clippings, and other green waste materials. Using straw bales leads to great compost because it helps maintain the moisture and heat levels needed for finished compost. 

Conclusion: DIY Compost Bin Ideas

This article covered some composting techniques you can use in your home. Although there are other composting methods, like trench composting, the ones mentioned above are good enough for you to create your compost piles. Remember to avoid adding plastic trash to your compost because it is harmful to your edible garden. 

Creating your own compost bin is quite simple. Follow our recommendations to start composting today. You can also add a bit of moist soil to your compost mix to harvest finished compost faster. Happy composting! 

By Jennifer Okafor, BSc.

Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

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